Homer Alaska - Arts

Story last updated at 6:11 PM on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Swenning honored for contributions to literacy

Emilie Swenning, a Nanwalek woman who helped establish a library and reading program in her community, will receive a Contributions to Literacy in Alaska Award.

Swenning got community backing to qualify for an Imagination Library program, in which children under age 5 receive free books. She also put together a makeshift library space and collected more than 2,000 books for the community.

In her nomination, Barbara Brown of Best Beginnings noted that in two days Swenning signed up every Nanwalek child for the Imagination Library program. When the school library lost its space, Swenning worked through her employer, the North Pacific Rim Housing Authority, to start a library there, Brown said. She also organized a Books for Bingo fundraiser with books as prizes for grandparents to read to their children.

Swenning receives her award on Tuesday following a reception by the Alaska Center for the Book, sponsors of the CLIA, at the University of Alaska Anchorage Fine Arts Building.

The reception is at 7:30 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Writers Sherry Simpson and Rich Chiappone present readings after the ceremony. Also receiving a CLIA are 49 Writers, an on-line blog established by Anchorage writers Deb Vanasse and Andromeda Romano-Lax that grew into a series of workshops and lectures.